Donald Trump addresses supporters at Crotona Park on May 23. By Mia Hollie.

            The former president and GOP nominee emphasized infrastructure during an hour-long speech on Thursday

Donald Trump came to the South Bronx on Thursday, insisting to his supporters that his emphasis on infrastructure extends beyond building walls.

The former president addressed some 3,500 people at Crotona Park on Thursday “to highlight the horrendous effects Crooked Joe Biden’s disastrous presidency has had on our economy,” as he stated in a post on his website promoting the event.

In an unusual move for the former president, who has focused much of his criticism on Pres. Joe Biden around immigration, inflation and wars in Gaza and Ukraine, Trump focused largely on what he described as a city in disrepair.

“Our subways are squalid and unsafe, the ceiling tiles are falling down, and they look worse than a third world country,” he said. “The medians of our highways are crumbling, our sidewalks are littered with garbage, bottles and trash – but worst of all, the discarded needles from people who so desperately are in need of help.”

In an attempt to boost his bona fides as a manager, Trump reminded his followers of a deal he struck with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to take over a development project in Throggs Neck in 2012, which later became Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, a sprawling 18-hole golf course that was sold last September.

Trump credited himself for playing crucial roles in a slew of other notable infrastructure projects across the city, including Wollman Skating Rink, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Grand Central Terminal, and insisted he will oversee similar improvements if elected to another term in the White House.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to fix our roads, bridges and highways. We’re going to take back our parks, not just for children, but for everybody,” he said. “We’re going to renovate New York’s subway system, so it no longer looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since 1932.”

But outside the park where Trump addressed his supporters from around the city, Bronx leaders and residents held rallies, protesting the candidate’s visit. Although infrastructure is a sore point in the South Bronx, where delayed building repairs, and lack of easy access to dependable transit are common complaints, Trump’s detractors said his strategic shift in messaging is a disingenuous, see-through effort to garner support from voters in the neighborhood.

Critics have questioned Trump’s commitment to infrastructure. During his 2016 presidential campaign, he promised to invest as much as $1 trillion on aging infrastructure nationwide, but he failed to pass an infrastructure bill during his term.

At a morning rally at Walter Gladwin Park in East Tremont, Congressman Ritchie Torres told a contingent that “Donald Trump is a criminal suspect with more than 91 criminal counts. The only reason [he] is running for president is to protect himself.”

Edwin Rojas, 71, said he owned a house near Crotona Park for more than 50 years, but he and his partner moved away because they could no longer afford to live in the city. He attended the event to support the Republican, adding he would consider moving back to the Bronx if he won.

“I’m expecting him to do great business in the Bronx,” said Rojas. “To bring more people, more buildings, to bring the Bronx economy up.”

Wendy Brame, a Long Island resident, said Black and native communities are not getting the resources they need under the current administration, for which she says she no longer votes Democrat.

“When I was old enough to vote, we were pretty much indoctrinated as minorities to vote Democrat,” she said. “We automatically go out, we vote Democrat, and we don’t see any results as minorities.”

Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. with a handful of Trump supporters at Bill Rainey Park in Longwood on May 18. By Joe Hirsch

Last week, the Trump campaign tried to draw attention to the Crotona Park event with a Black Patriots for Trump rally at Bill Rainey Park in Longwood. A coalition of conservative politicians and community leaders gathered, led off by a prominent former Bronx Democratic state senator and councilmember, Ruben Diaz Sr. Diaz fronted about a dozen marchers who walked up to Rainey Park from Westchester Avenue holding up a Trump banner. About 50 attended the Rainey Park rally, only a few of them from the Bronx.

A Trump supporter holds a sign at Bill Rainey Park on May 18. By Joe Hirsch.

Additional reporting by Joe Hirsch. 





Watch video footage from a pro-Trump rally on May 18 that was spearheaded by Ruben Diaz Sr. in Longwood:

About Post Author